The risk of getting water-borne illnesses, like leptospirosis, is often much greater during the rainy season.
Health experts said this is because floodwaters and other extreme weather-related events cause rodents and other wild and domesticated species to move into the city.
In the Philippines, cases of leptospirosis have been spiking in the recent weeks due to rains and heavy flooding.
Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that from January 1 to August 3 this year, more than 900 cases of leptospirosis were recorded, 300 of which are from Metro Manila. Out of these cases, 106 fatalities were reported.
According to the World Health Organization, leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals. It is an infection in both wild and domesticated animals but rodents are implicated most often in human cases.
Human infection can occur through “direct contact with the urine of infected animals or with a urine-contaminated environment such as surface water, soil and plants.”
The most common route of infection is exposure to water contaminated by urine, such as floodwaters, and through skin abrasions and the mucus of the nose, mouth and eyes.
How leptospirosis affects your body?
Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Cybele Abad, in an interview with UNTV Digital program Lifesaver, said that when leptospirosis bacteria enter the body, it spreads through blood and infects the cells.
“Kapag halimbawa after ng isang bagyo tapos lumusong sa baha tapos may bukas na sugat sa paa, usually pwedeng makapasok yung Leptospirosis (bacteria) sa open wound sa paa… Tapos dala ng dugo, iikot sa buong katawan yung leptospiros at magkakaroon ng mga sintomas ng leptospirosis,” Abad said.
Watch this online episode of Lifesaver for more information on how leptospirosis affects your body.
Signs and Symptoms
The time between a person’s exposure to a contaminated source and becoming sick is two to four days.
In the early stages of the disease, symptoms include high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, chills, redness of the eyes, abdominal pain, jaundice, haemorrhages in the skin and mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash.
But according to Abad, many of leptospirosis’ symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases, so it is important for a person suspected with this infection to seek immediate medical consultation and tests.
“Kapag (tingin) po na may posibilidad na leptospirosis, kailangan dalhin sa ospital para mabantayan yung mga sintomas. Kailangan din pong ma-diagnose ito, usually through some blood test, puwedeng blood culture o kaya may diagnostic test para malaman kung leptospirosis or hindi,” she said.
What to do to prevent infection?
To avoid leptospirosis, health experts advise the public to take up measures, which include:
Avoiding swimming or wading in potentially contaminated water or flood water.
Use of proper protection like boots and gloves when work requires exposure to contaminated water.
Draining of potentially contaminated water when possible.
Control rats in the household by using rat traps or rat poison, maintaining cleanliness in the house.
The illness usually lasts for a few days to three weeks or longer and can be treated with antibiotics. But without treatment, recovery may take several months.
The more severe phase of the disease may lead a person to have kidney or liver failure or meningitis.
Lifesaver is a UNTV Digital program that offers basic first aid training essential to anyone who happens to be a bystander to an accident or emergency. It also educates viewers of imperative emergency response lessons and indispensable disaster preparedness tools to be able to save lives in times of calamities.
For more information on dengue, other basic first aid and emergency response tips, visit Lifesaver’s Youtube and Facebook accounts.
Much as we enjoy being a couch potato, our bodies need the right amount of exercise to stay healthy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults ages 18–64, to have at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week or 75 minutes of rigorous physical activity a week.
Studies have shown that physically adults have lower rates of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and depression.
Other benefits include:
less risk of a hip or vertebral fracture;
exhibit a higher level of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness; and
more likely to achieve weight maintenance, have a healthier body mass and composition.
The WHO said the recommendation is applicable to all healthy adults. However, there will be adjustments depending on the exercise capacity of an individual and the specific health risks or limitations.
“There are multiple ways of accumulating the total of 150 minutes per week. The concept of accumulation refers to meeting the goal of 150 minutes per week by performing activities in multiple shorter bouts, of at least 10 minutes each, spread throughout the week then adding together the time spent during each of these bouts: e.g. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 times per week,” according to their statement.—AAC
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is eyeing to propose imposing additional taxes on salty food products in a bid to lower the high incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country.
High consumption of salt is one of the causes of non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, stroke and chronic respiratory illnesses. Excessive salt intake is also related to hypertension, kidney diseases and cardiovascular problems, according to the DOH.
DOH spokesperson and Undersecretary Eric Domingo noted that the recommended salt intake per day for adult Filipinos is just under a teaspoon or around two grams.
“Ang cause ng hypertension sa atin, maliban sa paninigarilyo, ay pagkain ng maalat. Dapat po isang tao, 2 grams lang per day, tayo po ang konsyumo natin 11-15 grams per day, so tayo ay 4-5 times sa mga Filipino,” Domingo said in a press briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday.
High sodium intake raises blood pressure that leads to stroke and heart diseases, the two biggest causes of death and disability worldwide, according to the WHO.
In the Philippines, the DOH reported that more than 170,000 individuals die each year from heart diseases, specifically hypertension.
To curb the high incidence of these diseases and to help encourage people to eat healthy foods, the DOH is pushing for the imposition of additional taxes on products with too much salt.
Domingo cited the experience of several countries that imposed tax on unhealthy food which forced companies to adjust their product formulation.
“And it has been found in many countries that when you tax products that are unhealthy, talagang nagde-decrease kasi ang intake and the companies reformulate yung kanilang product,” he said.
The government has implemented tax on sugary drinks as well as on tobacco products under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
The USCDC in August issued an advisory, cautioning the public against the purchase and use of vaping ingredients from the street and to stop modifying either nicotine or cannabis e-cigarette in an effort to curb the reportedly rising cases of vaping-related sicknesses in 25 U.S. states.
“Based on reports from several states, patients have experienced respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain), and some have also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) or non-specific constitutional symptoms (fatigue, fever, or weight loss). Symptoms typically develop over a period of days but sometimes can manifest over several weeks,” the advisory read.
The USCDC has recommended some steps for clinicians, including the reporting of cases of severe pulmonary disease of unclear etiology and history of e-cigarette use within the past 90 days, to help determine the cause of these sicknesses.
The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier said the use of e-cigarettes should be regulated as there is no evidence proving they were a safer alternative to cigarettes, warning that it normalizes smoking and hooks young people. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
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